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Holness: Phillips is no economic genius

Published:Thursday | January 28, 2016 | 1:49 PM
Holness said Phillips is being celebrated for doing nothing, but taxing Jamaicans.
Shaw poked fun at Phillips being named the 'Gleaner Man of the Year' for 2015. "Him pass the IMF Tests but him fail the other tests. Him fail the peoples test, but no, The Gleaner give him man a di year," said exclaimed.
Rudyard Spencer
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The Jamaica Labour Party has declared that Finance  Minister Dr Peter Phillips is no economic genius, but merely one who willingly complies with the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Andrew Holness, the leader of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and Audley Shaw, the spokesman on finance, took turns punching Phillips at a meeting in Lionel Town, Clarendon Thursday night.

Shaw poked fun at Phillips being named the 'Gleaner Man of the Year' for 2015.

"Him pass the IMF Tests but him fail the other tests. Him fail the peoples test, but no, The Gleaner give him man a di year," said exclaimed.

"Him and a few people a celebrate say him a Man a di Year fi di Gleaner meanwhile me an you a suffer," he added.

Holness said Phillips is being celebrated for doing nothing, but taxing Jamaicans.

He said that one of the things the JLP would do if it forms the Government is to make an approximately US$2 billion investment in improving the country's water infrastructure.

Such investment he said would lead to growth in agriculture and construction.

"Growing the economy is not a mystery to the Jamaica Labour Party," Holness said.

He said that the PNP does not understand the concept of economic growth.

"All that Peter Phillips and his followers have done is to reach into your pocket and tek out your money as taxes and pay it over to the IMF. That does not require any economic genius," Holnes said.

"All Peter Phillips has done is to say we are not going to spend on the things that are important to you," he added.

Holness said that under a JLP Government the economy would bubble, and teased the crowd into singing Konshens' Bubble Gyal a Bubble, even though he himself refrained from repeating the words saying critics are waiting for him to make a mistake.

Under Shaw's watch as finance minister, the economy contracted by more than five per cent from 2008-2010 with the growth in Gross Domestic Product recorded at -0.8 per cent in 2008, -3.1 per cent in 2009 and -1.4 per cent in 2010.

However, in the JLP's last year, the economy grew by 1.7 per cent.

Under Phillips thus far, the economy grew by 1.5 per cent in the last quarter.

From 2011 to 2014, the economy grew at an average 0.4 per cent.